ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Project to lift tra fish sector sustainability
Vietnam plans to develop a sustainable supply chain for the tra fish (pangasius) industry by 2020, experts said at a conference held in HCM City yesterday.
The Viet Nam Cleaner Production Centre and Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) together with other partners yesterday launched the Establishing a Sustainable Pangasius Supply Chain project (SUPA).
The project, worth 2.4 million euros (US$3.2 million), of which the EU has funded 1.9 million euros ($2.5 million), will be implemented by the Viet Nam Cleaner Production Centre, VASEP, World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Viet Nam) and WWF-Austria.
Speaking at the project-launch ceremony, Berenice Muraille, development counselor of the delegation of the EU to Viet Nam, said SUPA would improve the competitiveness of Viet Nam's pangasius industry in the global market.
Under the project, the EU will support the entire pangasius supply chain, from hatcheries, feed producers and processors in Viet Nam to traders and end-use customers, including those in the EU, the largest export market for pangasius.
The four-year project, which ends in 2017, will focus on capacity-building; promotion of responsible production to increase product quality; mitigation of environmental impact and reduction of production costs, by applying Resources Efficiency and Cleaner Production methodologies; product innovation; and market development and promotion.
The project also supports information exchange and techniques for households and small- and medium-sized enterprises in applying the standards for sustainable production as outlined under the Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Global GAP (General Agricultural Practices) requirements.
Speaking at the ceremony, Nguyen Hoai Nam, VASEP deputy secretary general, said pangasius, which is used as a daily food for residents in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, has become a leading processing and export product of the aquaculture sector.
Last year, the sector harvested about 1.2 million tonnes with export value of more than $1.7 billion, up from $40 million in 2000, Nam said.
Besides its advantages, the pangasius sector is also facing a number of challenges such as a lack of long-term planning for the material production.
In addition, the exported products are not diverse, and prices are not stable.
The industry has not built a brand for the product, which allows it to be affected by negative information about its quality from rivals, he told Viet Nam News.
According to Nam, the most critical issue in the industry is the lack of a value-chain and a balance between production and consumption, which has caused instability in profits and supply capacity.
Tran Van Nhan, director of the Viet Nam Cleaner Production Centre, said SUPA was one of the support projects for Viet Nam's pangasius industry that uses effective methods for sustainable production and market promotion.
The project also includes the application of research results into practice, Nhan said.
Le Xuan Thinh, coordinator of the project, said the target groups of the project include 200 aquatic feed producers, 1,000 pangasius hatcheries, 100 pangasius processing companies, 750 small pangasius farms and 150 middle to large pangasius farms.
It is expected that by the completion of the project at least 70 per cent of the targeted mid – to large pangasius producing and processing enterprises, and 30 per cent of the feed producers and small independent producers, will be actively engaged in resource efficiency and cleaner production.
In addition, by 2017, at least 50 per cent of targeted small- and medium-sized processing enterprises will provide sustainable products compliant with ASC standards to the EU as well as other markets, according to Thinh.
Vietnamese pangasius is well-liked by local and international consumers for its high nutritious value, white meat, few bones and lack of smell or sediment. It is also considered a safe product for all age groups.
Viet Nam has nearly 70 pangasius export and processing companies, all of which have advanced equipment.
Pangasius farming areas are strictly managed according to national regulations on food safety and environmental protection.
As of June 2012, more than half of fish farming areas nationwide had been audited and certified by internationally sustainable standards, such as Global GAP, AquaGAP, BAP/GAA and ASC.
The fish is exported to 145 countries and territories worldwide, particularly to the EU, the US, ASEAN member countries, Canada, the Middle East, China and Japan.
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